Saturday, October 10, 2009

A New Seedling Flowers!

P. forrestii's flower is nothing special as far as striking features, but it makes up for the lack of drama by the shear numbers of flowers produced! It was easily the most prolific parent in my hybridizing efforts last year. It rarely failed to produce seed when pollinated by another species.

The flowers of P. duclouxii are among the largest of the Petrcosmea species. The shape is unique as is the deep purple blotch at the base of the throat...something no other species has. (This species is almost certainly NOT the true P. duclouxii..... I feel it matches the description of P. grandiflora more closely.)

The first flower from a cross of P. forrestii and P. duclouxii. A much reduced version of P. duclouxii on spectacularly soft foliage!
Having made 14 new Petrocosmea crosses last year, I am excited to see the cooler months of autumn approaching, for that means the peak season of bloom for my Petrocosmea collection is here! And this year, with the bloom season comes the special bonus of seeing many of those seedlings begin to flower for the first time. This week, I am excitedly watching buds develop on a batch of seedlings resulting from a cross between P. forrestii and P. duclouxii. The first to open is pictured above.

The seedlings resulting from the pairing of the floriferous and compact little species P. forrestii and the large, and equally floriferous P. duclouxii have been my favorites, hands down, in the foliage category. I love the foliage on these little guys! The leaves on these seedlings look like large P. forrestii leaves, but are incredibly furry....the hairs on the leaves are dense, long, and very soft. I have always believed the plants should be experienced with all of the senses, including the sense of touch. One of the endearing charms of many Petrocosmeas is the way the foliage feels when it is touched. These seedlings have among the softest, if not the softest foliage of any in my collection. P. duclouxii has long, soft hairs on the dorsal of the leaves, so I was happy to see that they inherited this feature.

Now as for the flowers, I honestly was not expecting anything spectacular here, since I fing the flowers of both parent species to be nothing special. I made the cross with a goal of a heavily flowered, very symmetrical plant, that did not sucker and was easy to grow. I can't say that I have acheived any of those qualities with just a lone flower on one of twenty seedlings, but there are lots of buds coming, so I am still hopeful of floriferous plants. The flower, as you can see above, is a smaller version of the flower on P. duclouxii. I see no sign of P. forrestii in the flower, other than the flowers' reduced size and less prominent purple blotch at the throat (which P. duclouxii is noted for.).

One last note to make....... As I am seeing more and more flowers opening on Petrocosmea hybrid seedlings, I am noting a curious, and disturbing trend.... Many of the flowers have malformed, or missing anthers. Some, as with the seedling above, also have missing or deformed pistils also. If this continues, it may result in Petrocosmea hybrids that cannot be used for further hybridizing. I'm continuing to watch this. This is also noted in some Sinningias...especially the doubles; in Kohleria hybrids, and in some Chirita hybrids.

The journey continues!!!!